Galley Gossip: How to prepare for a flight attendant interview

Dear Heather,

I’m interested in becoming a flight attendant. I was wondering if you could give me a little advice as to what to expect in an interview, how should I prepare for it, etc. I would really appreciate it.


Dear Donna,

Whatever you do, do not wear a canary yellow suit to the interview. That’s exactly what I did the first time I interviewed with a major airline. Needless to say, I didn’t get hired. Not that that was a bad thing because I wound up graduating from college instead. Not to mention, I prefer the airline I work for now. That said, education is key. There aren’t many airlines hiring these days so competition is fierce. Only the most qualified will succeed. Since the aviation industry isn’t as stable as it once was, it’s always a good idea to have something to fall back on.

DRESS THE PART: If you want to become a flight attendant, try looking like one. Start by wearing a blue or black suit to the interview. Skirt length should be no more than an inch above the knee and pantyhose are a must. Keep fingernails clean and polished and long hair pulled back or styled conservatively. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum – no dangly earrings! Do not overdo the makeup. Think fresh and neat.

BE YOURSELF: First impressions count. It’s a nerve wracking experience, but try to relax and don’t forget to smile. Introduce yourself to other candidates in the room. Airlines prefer applicants who are friendly. So be yourself, enjoy the moment, and laugh! Have fun.
: If your experience ends up being anything like mine, you’ll find yourself participating in a group interview with about four other candidates a lot like yourself. It’s important to make a good impression. Keep it positive whenever answering a question, especially when discussing yourself or any past employers and coworkers. Also, don’t be the last person to answer each question. Be confident. Raise your hand.

TALK THE TALK: Use the phrase “good customer service” and the word “flexible” as often as possible. Flight attendants spend more time with passengers than anyone else in the industry, so airlines are looking for applicants with experience in customer service. Try sharing stories about the times you provided good customer service. Because a majority of flight attendants do not get based where they live right out of training, and because a flight attendant’s schedule is constantly changing and many of us are on-call for days, even months, at a time, it’s very important to remain “flexible.” Show examples of that as well.

SLOW DOWN: All I remember during my one-on-one interview fifteen years ago was reading a safety demo announcement out loud. While I know you can read, otherwise you wouldn’t be here reading this, doing it out loud in front of a stranger who does not crack a smile while analyzing your every move and scribbling notes on a clipboard, is totally different. Remember to slow down and add a little life to what could be a long, drawn out, monotone speech. Before the interview takes place, try practicing reading magazines, books, whatever, out loud at home.

BESIDES TRAVELING AND MEETING NEW PEOPLE…. why do you want to become a flight attendant? Trust me, that is a question you will have to answer. So come prepared. I think I may have said something about looking for a career with a reputable company that I would be proud to work for. And then I’m sure I went on to say something about how much I enjoyed providing good customer service and how appealing I found the flexible lifestyle, since I wasn’t really a 9 to 5 kind of person. Two other questions I can remember were, “How did you prepare for the interview?” (I bought a navy blue suit and a pair of navy blue heels) and “what question did you think we would ask, but didn’t – answer it” (When can you start training – now).

BUH-BYE, ADIOS SAYONARA, SEE YA LATER: Flight attendants are expected to welcome and say goodbye to each and every passenger while boarding or deplaning a flight. Wouldn’t hurt to do the same to the person(s) conducting the interview process. Thank the interviewer for their time and tell him or her you look forward to seeing them again.

Let’s say you score an airline interview, but for whatever reason you aren’t hired. Don’t give up. Keep on reapplying. Or try another airline. My friend Shirley who worked for a charter airline applied to a particular commercial airline eighteen times – eighteen times! – and never did get hired. Did I mention she speaks three languages and is an amazing flight attendant? Finally Shirley applied to my airline and they hired her on the spot. Two weeks later she attended flight attendant training. Another flight attendant I know attended a yearly flight attendant open house like a contestant on American Idol. Five years after his first open house interview he got hired. Just goes to show, you never know. Just keep on trying.

Hope that helps, Donna. Good luck to you!

Heather Poole

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